Change of use plans for landmark Audmoor House in March
A landmark Grade II listed building is to be given a new lease of life if owners can gain planning permission to convert it into four homes.
Snowmountain Enterprises Ltd has applied for change of use for Audmoor House, which stands prominently on March High Street at the front of the Oliver Cromwell Hotel.
The Grade II listed building has had a chequered history starting life as a residential home when it was built in the late 18th Century early 19th Century.
It has also previously been home to March Town Council and was also the town's register office.
In more recent times it has become offices and also part of it was used as a hairdressers and was also a wedding venue linked to the hotel.
Now Snowmountain Enterprises Ltd, the property company started by the late former March mayor Peter Skoulding and is still family run by his children: John, Robert and Cindy, wants to breathe new life into the building by making it into four homes: one two-storey three bedroom end terrace house, one one-bedroom flat and two two-bedroom flats.
A design, access and heritage statement drawn up by L Bevens Associates, submitted alongside the change of use planning application, explains: "The approach taken with the design of the layout has been to ensure that the house types accommodate the needs of modern living whilst maintaining an imaginative and attractive place to live."
It says the layout of the site remains largely unchanged from the current arrangement with communal gardens being proposed to the front and side of the building.
The area identified for the car parking is an existing parking area dedicated to the existing use class of the building and provides adequate parking for the proposed change of use and not to the detriment of car parking offered for The Oliver Cromwell Hotel.
The statement also says the aim is to make "minimal interruptions to the fabric of the building" so that it can be easily converted back to non-residential use if the need arises in the future.
It says: "We believe that this approach has been successful in providing the level of accommodation in the client’s brief but also meeting with the aspirations of the Conservation Officer."
But it warns: "Audmoor House currently stands in a static state, whereby there is no longer a requirement for office space in this location and more and more people are working from home, with modern houses often providing home offices or studies.
"If the proposed change of use does not take place, then there is a risk that this building will continue to remain empty and the building will require more and more repair work with no end user for the client and significant financial investment."
And it continues: "The property has had some recent improvement works done to the main roofs under the extant Listed Building Consent, which has reduced the amount of water ingress into the structure, but this application intends to enhance and improve the character of the building and provide the long-term survival of historic fabric through further remedial work to the outside walls, windows, drainage, and the general interior of the building.
"The primary reason for submission of this application is therefore to seek consent to stabilise and conserve the current structure and historic fabric through both repair works and new interventions and to find a use class that is likely to be able to fund the repairs.
"The proposed alterations to the current layout will have a marginal impact on the surviving historic fabric of the property, but at the same time will bring the property up to modern day living standards and expectations whilst still conserving the current structure and historic fabric."
You can view the planning application on Fenland District Council's website reference number: F/YR22/0868/LB